View-Worthy: 10.21.14

Preview

Driscoll’s Board, Pastor’s Wife Effect, Redemption and Rap, Reasons to Attend Worship.

Headliner

Morgan Lee. Was Driscoll’s Board a Problem? (CT)

A deeper question raised by the Mars Hill saga asks if nondenominational churches can better govern their congregation and disciple their pastors with elders drawn from within the church body, or if they should seek outside expertise.

Deal of the Day

Nine Marks of a Healthy Church by Mark Dever $1.99

Book Review

Oliver Crisp. Deviant Calvinism. Reviewed by Paul Helm. (Ref21)

Links

Joanna Breault. The Pastor’s Wife Effect. (CT)

In a recent interview in Rolling Stone, Taylor Swift recounts a conversation with her brother about a man he’d seen walking around with a cat on his head. She was torn between wanting to respect the man’s privacy and wishing she had a photo. After all, she said, “That guy is asking for it – he’s got a cat on his head!”

So here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write: Being a pastor’s wife is a little like having a cat on your head. Are we really asking for it? We have our private, everyday lives just like everyone else, yet we happen to be married to men whose jobs—whose ministries—are public.

Dan DeWitt. My Journey in Rhythm, Rhyme, and Redemption. (TGC)

I spent the summer of 1992, or at least a good portion of it, on a school bus. The drive from my small town in central Illinois to a small town in central Ohio seemed to take forever. It was a blistering summer day, and there was no air conditioning. We had been on the road since early in the morning, and the sun had finally risen to the perfect angle where it was directly cooking me through the window. I felt like a turkey on Thanksgiving Day. I wasn’t sure what would melt first, my skin or the vinyl seat it was stuck to.

I put my headphones on and stuck a cassette tape into my Walkman (the old school equivalent of an iPod—kind of).

I wanted to escape: The bus. The youth group. The world.

Matthew Westerholm. Three Reasons to Attend Corporate Worship. (DG)

“Why do we have to go to church again?”

Children ask this question on a semi-regular basis. I know my three boys have given me many opportunities to answer it. As a worship pastor, I am embarrassed to admit that I have found myself facing another service and asking the same question: Why again? Did we fail last week, or do it wrong? Was last week’s service not enough?

Edify

2 Corinthians 11:3 “But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.”

“Devotion is not an activity; it is an attitude toward God.” Jerry Bridges

Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact by Marvin Jones

Basil of CaesareaBibliography

Marvin Jones. Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Impact. Fearn: Christian Focus, 2014. 166 pp. $11.99.

Category

Theology

Summary

“The Church Fathers are a forgotten heirloom from the past.”

Your response to that statement reveals what you will think about Basil of Caesarea: His Life and Work. Too few have read the Church Fathers or about them. Often, pastors do not know where to start.

This is why I highly anticipate the Early Church Fathers series edited by Michael A. G. Haykin. This series recovers yesterday’s treasures for today’s readers. So far two books have released: St. Patrick of Ireland by Haykin and this work by Jones. Forthcoming titles include: Athanasius by Carl Trueman, Cyril of Alexander by Steve McKinion, Augustine by Brad Green, Irenaeus of Lyons by Ligon Duncan, and Tertullian by David Robinson. What a line up!

Jones’s book, Basil of Caesarea, alongside Haykin’s, prove to be pacesetters for this series. Marvin Jones is an Assistant Professor of Church History and Theology at Louisiana College and chairs the Christian Studies department.

Basil of Caesarea first sets the contextual political and theological setting along with a biographical overview of Basil’s life in chapter one. Chapter two delves into his conversion and a broadly sweeping understanding of Basil’s theology. In chapters three through seven Jones scrutinizes critical contexts that incite Basil’s pivotal works. Chapter three discusses the monastic movement, Basil’s contribution of the Moral Rules, and his favor towards a communal (coenobitic) structure for monastic living. Chapter four sets up chapter five. Jones sets the scene that leads Basil to write his magnum opus, On the Holy Spirit, which chapter five considers in detail. Chapter six explores Basil’s homiletical leanings, centering on his unexpected literal interpretation of Genesis 1 in the Hexaemeron, a move contrary to the allegorical method popularized by Origen and prevalent for the time. Chapter seven summarily concludes Basil of Caesarea by bringing together and refreshing many uncannily applicable points for which pastors and leaders profit from Basil’s life.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Jones’s work, Basil of Caesarea, is no dessicated biography; his expressive energy imbues this book. From the opening anecdote of Basil’s defiance against Modestus (19-21) to his unlikely conversion tale kindled by his beloved sister, Macrina’s, witness (41-42), the narrative of Basil’s life will entrance readers.

Yet, don’t presume that Basil of Caesarea is mere arresting biography. This book amplifies your understanding of pastoral ministry and theology.

For instance, Jones draws us into the political context with which Basil found himself embroiled. This is instructive for pastors. When tensions mount between young Basil and his overseer Eusebius, Basil diffidently withdraws into monastic life. Jones comments:

Regardless of the specific reason, Basil left Caesarea in order to prevent further division that would overflow into the church. He honored the pastor, Eusebius, by not being a continual source of contention, thereby showing great respect for the Lord’s church and the Lord’s pastor at Caesarea. (67)

What a first-rate example for young leaders!

Meanwhile, Basil of Caesarea reacquaints you with subjects such as the Arian Heresy, the divinity of the Holy Spirit, and the ripening of Trinitarian doctrine. These discussions leave you grateful that Basil contended for precise theological language.

Callouts define terms like ousia, hypostases, tropikoi, andthe filioque clause, which clarify orthodox articulation. Distantly past heresies, like Sabbelianism, keep you weary of permitting similar, present day, expressions from hooking their claws into the church.

Jones does not leave us with a flawless, rose-tinted, presentation of Basil. He presents a realistic and relatable portrait. We recognize Basil’s brash attempt to enlist Athanasius’s political support for what it is: sensational and misrepresentative. Basil wishing to see Meletius installed as Bishop of Antioch instead of Marcellus, misconstrued Marcellus’s theological views beyond orthodoxy. Basil’s six letters to Athanasius – convincing him of these views – warrant no reply.

Despite the brouhaha with Athanasius, Basil’s writing possesses a classy mettle. There is a thing or two to learn from him about blogging, email, and public address. Read this excerpt from Basil’s, Against Eunomius, a work going toe to toe against Arianism: “So, on account of Your Charity, who enjoins us to do this, and for the sake of our own well being, it is necessary for us to accept the responsibility of allying ourselves with the truth and refuting this falsehood” (50). Basil imbibes social grace, excels in rhetoric, and champions sound doctrine with stoic conviction, even when the cause against Ariansim looks bleak.

There is a lot more to be said about this excellent primer on Basil. May this review put you on a trajectory, not just to read Basil of Caesarea, but to study his other writings as well.

Rating 

Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By

Recommendation

Basil of Caesarea is a strategic biographical and theological reconnoiter of a remarkable figure and thinker in the early church.

View-Worthy: 10.20.14

Preview

Hillsong’s Brian Houston, Church in Exile, Help Someone Change, This Coke, Sexuality and Silence.

Headliner

Sarah Pulliam Bailey and Jonathan Merritt. Brian Houston Defends Handling of Abuse Case, Sidesteps Questions on Gay Marriage. (RNS)

The founder of Hillsong, one of the most influential religious brands across the globe, on Thursday (Oct. 16) denied allegations that he had tried to cover up his father’s sexual abuse, saying the victim asked him not to go to the police.

Deal of the Day

Accidental Pharisees by Larry Osborne $3.79

Book Review

Todd Wilson. Real Christian. Reviewed by Matt Perman.

Links

Andrew Walker. A Church in Exile. (First Things)

Religion, and maybe Ebola, owned the news this week. From the confusion and public relations nightmare at the Vatican over the Synod’s Relatio, to the Caesarism of Annise Parker and the City of Houston subpoenaing sermons from pastors, it has been a busy week for the religion beat.

Then yesterday, coverage about a Hillsong press conference came out, indicating that the global evangelical enterprise is triangulating on homosexuality, particularly about whether it should publicly hold what the Bible teaches in light of culture’s rapid change on the subject.

Stephen Altrogge. How To REALLY Help Someone Change.

You’ve got this person in your life, and they really need to change. For years your husband has struggled with anger. For years your wife has struggled with self-control. For years your son has struggled with laziness. For years your daughter has struggled with body image issues. At this point, you don’t know h0w to help them move forward. You don’t know how to help them overcome the sin that has beset them for so long. You’re fed up, worn out, and pretty much hopeless. You’ve resigned yourself to things always being the way they are.

What the heck are you supposed to do? Fortunately, the Bible gives us straight forward wisdom on how to really, actually help a person change. And odds are, the Bible’s wisdom probably runs contrary to your own ideas of how to help a person change. It certainly runs contrary to mine!

So how can you help a person change?

Tyler Glodjo. This Cokes [Not] For You: Life on the Margins. (CaPC)

 A few weeks ago my wife sent me a picture of a Coke bottle with my name on it. “Even when away, you’re with me,” I could hear her say. There is a unique simplicity in encountering a product with your name on it. It’s a simple, short-lived experience of validation. Did Coca-Cola have me in mind when printing “Tyler” on their labels? Surely not. But when my wife came across it in the grocery store, lonely from a summer without her husband while I was away at school, those five letters represented me. The name “Tyler” on the Coke bottle flooded her memory with a love she had been missing. Five simple letters represented not a word, but a name; and not a name shared by many, but the name of one. My name. What a beautifully simple phenomenon—outside the fact that such feelings originated from a massive marketing ploy.

Andrew Wilson. Sexuality and Silence. (9M)

I’ve heard rumours of a silent trend beginning to take hold in some city churches in the UK and the US. I don’t just mean a trend that takes hold silently; presumably most trends do that. I mean a trend toward silence: a decision not to speak out on issues that are considered too sticky, controversial, divisive, culturally loaded, entangled, ethically complex, personally upsetting, emotive, likely to be reported on by the Guardian or the New York Times, uncharted, inflammatory, difficult, or containing traces of gluten. Since I do not attend a city church, but am a proud member of the backward bungalow bumpkin brigade, this is coming to me secondhand, and it may turn out to be a storm in the proverbial teacup, or even (for all I know) entirely fictional.
But let’s imagine that there were such things as well-written booklets which had been discontinued simply because they were about sexuality, and leaders who were avoiding making any public comments at all on controversial ethical issues, or churches whose lectionaries or sermon series were systematically avoiding passages which addressed pressing contemporary questions, presumably in the name of being winsome or wise or likeable or culturally sensitive, because of the number of Influencers and Powerful People in the area. Without knowing any of the behind-the-scenes discussions that had taken place—all well-intentioned, I’m sure—what would I say then?

Edify

“God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him, and we are most satisfied in him in worship.” John Piper

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

Three Things to Remember When Visiting Christian Websites

Every day I pilfer numerous articles and scope out what the Christian community says on the internet. Like anyone else, I gravitate to particular websites, ones that have my interest and loyalty.

These websites are marked by quality journalism and literary writing. Their editors are qualified, usually not just as writers or editors, but as scholars and pastors. Typically, these sites are loosely connected or aligned to a pastoral figure, a church, denomination, or are a collection of the aforementioned.

And every day, as I read these Christian websites, I give myself a subtle reminder. I rehearse it quietly to myself. Here is what I say: “This is not the Word, not my local church, not an ordinance.”

Why do I give myself these reminders? I remind myself because I am prone to wander from priorities and authorities. What follows are reasons for these cautions.

This is Not the Word

Sure enough, the Word of God is frequently the base of Christian articles. Yet, just like other forms of journalism, even the best Christian websites veer towards sensational op-eds. You have to carefully read and categorize every article. Ask yourself: “Is this exegetically driven? Or opinion driven?” This helps you determine what authority level you permit an article to have. Still, even if it is exegetically driven, you have to ask: “Does this interpretation or reading of the Word hold true?”

The Word is authoritative over your life. As the psalmist confesses, “Your righteousness is righteous forever, and your law is true” (Ps. 119:142). Measure every article read against God’s truth. Likewise, don’t allow websites or articles to supplant time in the Word. They are no substitute for pulling out the Scripture and hearing directly from God.

Though they may bring you to the Word, Christian websites are not the Word.

This is Not Your Local Church

Community develops around Christian websites. You’ll connect with others that enjoy the same websites. Likewise, you’re bound to cross the same people in comment threads and develop friendships. These interactions, though genuine, are displaced by space. They are no substitute for your local church.

An aspect of local church community is that your local church sees you for who you are. In turn, you see them and submit to them, because the Scripture calls you to this, saying: “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph. 5:21).

Too often, you have the freedom to project what you wish to others on Christian websites. Substituting digital community for local church community creates a vacuous space that lacks accountability. Furthermore, digital space caters to individuality. You visit what sites you wish and are not a holden to anyone for your behavior. This individualism is dangerous.

Jonathan Leeman in The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, reminds us that the dangers of individualism are not countered by community, digital or otherwise. He says, “The solution to individualism is not community. The solution — one fears to say it without pages of qualification — is to reintroduce a conception of submission to God’s revealed will as it’s located in the local church.” The local church requires you to submit to elders, other members, and to Christ when a Christian website cannot.

Likewise, though many websites have pastors writing and editing, none of them argue that they function as pastors in this role. These men do not have the capacity to cover you with authority nor the ability to do so because of the digital space that lies between you two.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn about the church and fellowship with the wider church community, they are not your local church.

This is Not an Ordinance

This one is a surprising reminder. If you’re like me, you like to create laws for yourself. You like routine and gravitate towards it. But Jesus never said, “Thou shalt log in and read Christian articles daily.” This isn’t something you have to do; this is a freeing realization.

Though you enjoy checking out what’s being said by the Christian community on the internet, you have to remind yourself that it’s not part of your identity. Being adopted into sonship with Christ, calls you to baptism, the Lord’s supper, prayer, the Word, and the local church community. It doesn’t call you to keep up with what is being said on the web.

At times you may feel out of place because other Christians know what’s going on in the blogosphere and you don’t. But that knowledge doesn’t shape you like the ordinances Christ gave you. You’re shaped by taking in bites of the Lord’s body, not bytes of data from Christian websites. You’re washed in the stream of Christ’s blood through the waters of baptism, not by the stream of your twitter feed.

Though Christian websites are a great place to learn what Christ ordained, you’re not ordained to go to them.

 

View-Worthy: 10.17.14

Preview

Sia v. Swift, Mars Hill Postmortem, Pain in Christian Marriage, Young Blacks Leaving Church?

Headliner

Steve McCoy. Sia vs. Swift: A Pop Battle for Our Hearts. (CaPC)

I recently expressed my love for pop music despite being a bit of an indie music snob. I must also confess that I regularly listen to pop radio. You know, that thing with knobs on the dash of the car that deciphers audio waves rather than a wifi signal. Lately two voices familiar to most of us who enjoy pop music have been competing for radio time–and their messages couldn’t be more different.

Deal of the day

Forever: Why You Can’t Live Without It by Paul David Tripp

Book Review

Hunter Baker. The System Has a Soul. Reviewed by Douglas Wilson.

Links

Trevin Wax. The Mars Hill Postmortem.

The news of Mark Driscoll’s resignation closes a painful chapter in the life of Mars Hill Church in Seattle. This is a time to pray for the Driscoll family, Mars Hill Church, and those who have suffered through various forms of spiritual abuse.

What can we learn from this situation? We should consider four lessons to take away, but I want to preface these remarks with two caveats.

Jason Helopoulos. Pain in Christian Marriage. (Christward Collective)

Marriage can be painful–and Christian marriage is no exception. When two sinners are in a relationship as intimate as marriage, there is bound to be some measure of hurt. Our flesh will balk at the demands of self-sacrifice, service, and humility affecting one another for ill. There will be sins committed, wounds aggravated, and injuries inflicted. The extent will vary with each relationship. Some will be more challenging than others, but every Christian marriage experiences some pain.

Anthony Carter. Why Are Young Black Leaving the Church? (9M)

Are “black millennials” leaving the church? Is this something about which we should be alarmed? In recent times much has been written on this subject seeking to interpret and analyze what some are saying is a disturbing trend. Some of the discussion has taken place on the website The Front Porch (see here and here), and some has taken place at other online outlets.

One article in particular, Six Reasons Young Black People are Leaving Church, has raised the question and offered reasons why young black men and women are either leaving or not going to church.

Edify

Psalm 99:5 “Exalt the Lord our God; worship at his footstool! Holy is he!”

“If we want to know God and to be blessed by God, we must start by worshipping him.” D Martyn Lloyd-Jones

15 Quotes from Am I Called by Dave Harvey

Am I CalledPastoral calling is a critical but often misunderstood component of ministry. There are a number of contributing factors to this. I don’t wish to get into that here. But I will say this, the Church has provided a number of helpful resources during the past few years to address this confusion. One of those resources is Dave Harvey’s book, Am I Called. Aeons ago I reviewed this book here. Today, enjoy these 15 quotes from a book more helpful than an umbrella on a rainy day.

1. “Regardless of the situation, a summons is a call away from one thing and into another. This book is about a particular kind of summons, and I believe it’s one of the most glorious and strategic a Christian man can experience: the call to pastoral ministry” (18).

2. “In an infinitely more profound way, our call to ministry, just like our call to salvation, ultimately says little about us and a great deal about the Caller” (35).

3. “A man truly called to pastoral ministry will pulse with a legitimate, God-ordained aspiration” (54).

4. “The church is not a career path. It’s the place you go to give your life away. God’s people can’t be mere stepping stones to larger opportunities” (58).

5. “Men don’t become pastors because of potential. They become pastors because God’s grace is already at work in them…God’s grace produces a godly life — and that godly life helps confirm God’s call” (75).

6. “The call to godliness protects pastors and moves them toward humility…To be a pastor is to be a self-acknowledged sinner representing a holy God” (79).

7. “Among all the biblical requirements for the called man, gospel-empowered character seems to be most prominent. A man’s character is the overarching scriptural qualification for leadership in the church — and this will be revealed in everything from the nuance of his word choices to the cravings behind his big decisions” (81).

8. “You will lead from who you are in private” (93).

9. “If you’re going to minister the gospel faithfully in the church, you’ve got to minister it at home. And that means it needs to penetrate your heart and life most of all. If you’re able to help your wife and kids understand and appropriate the gospel, God may indeed be calling you to care for the church” (97).

10. “The gospel isn’t content alone. It’s content that reveals Jesus Christ. If we can preach gospel truths in a way that leaves people indifferent to the Savior who fills the gospel with meaning, we’re not preaching the gospel” (119).

11. “For a man being summoned to ministry, this internal sense of call must be compelling and enduring, lasting for as long as he’s in ministry” (166).

12. “External confirmation is the process of evaluation whereby the church affirms God’s call to the man. Think of it this way. A personal sense is never enough to propel a man into ministry. The subjective sense of calling must be objectively validated. External assessment is an essential cord that tethers you, and your church, to safety” (167).

13. “You see, God never gives a summons (or withholds one!) without having a good plan behind it. Because he’s a good God, all his plans are good. All calls have limits — limits of gifting and sphere and opportunity and time” (187).

14. “A man listening for a call is never a man sitting still. A key sign of the summons is godly ambition that’s being channeled into action” (187).

15. “The ultimate test of a called man is whether he desires the advancement of the gospel more than the advancement of his own ministry” (199).

View-Worthy: 10.16.14

Preview

Driscoll Resigns, Male Body Image, Progressive Evangelical Package, Manhood and Theology: Work.

Headliner

Sarah Pulliam Bailey. Mark Driscoll Resigns from Mars Hill Church. (RNS)

Mark Driscoll, the larger-than-life megachurch pastor who has been accused of plagiarism, bullying and an unhealthy ego that alienated his most devoted followers, resigned from his Seattle church Tuesday (Oct. 14), according to a document obtained by RNS.

Deal of the Day

The Gospel According to Jesus by John MacArthur $3.79

Book Review

Michael Horton. Ordinary. Reviewed by Owen Strachan.

Links

Paul Maxwell. The Epidemic of Male Body Hatred. (DG)

“If I could look like that guy who played Thor, I would be happy.”

It’s a common belief among men of our age. Put more honestly, “If I can’t appear confident, sexy, intimidating, competent, and super-human, I’m worthless.”

We compare ourselves to others in the gym. We come away from movies wanting to exercise for eight hours. We would rather jump in front of a truck than take our shirts off at the pool. We feel pathetic and small. We look at ourselves in almost every mirror we pass. When alone, we flex — not because we like what we see, but because we don’t. We have spent hundreds of dollars on pre-workout, weight loss, and weight gain supplements. We research the best way to bulk, shred, diet, and binge.

Derek Rishmawy. The Progressive Evangelical Package. (MereO)

The progressive Evangelicals now have their own wing, though, ostensibly with an emphasis on diversity and a marked aversion to foreclosing conversations or policing boundaries. The idea that there is a strict standard, a party line you have to toe in order to be a part of the club, is supposed to be foreign to the Progressive internet’s ethos. That’s for the heresy-hunting, conservative builders of Evangelical empire, after all, rather than the “radically inclusive” prophets of a more Christ-like faith. Unlike their conservative counterparts, Progressives follow a Jesus who came to tear down the walls that divide, not put new doctrinal ones back up. 

Nick Abraham. Manhood and Theology: Work. (CBMW)

As Christians, we can so easily compartmentalize our lives and divide things into categories like church, work, and family. Instead of our faith in Christ being sovereign over and seeping into those categories, we attempt to delegate them to their own category. This often results in our faith absent in our work lives. This compartmentalization does not follow the biblical model of the Christian life and it operates against the biblical truth that Christ is Lord of our lives. The Apostle Paul reminds us, “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together,” (Col. 1:17). So what then is the biblical model to follow as we approach our work as Christians? It is helpful to begin at the beginning in answering that question.

Edify

Psalm 95:6 “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker!”

“If worship does not change us it has not been worship.” John MacArthur

011: Cochrans4Chicago Update

Isaiah 40:31 “But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Dear Friends,

Yet again, it has been too long since I wrote last. I am sorry for that. There are very good reasons for this as I will explain below in the ministry update.

The Lord’s kindness continues to shower down upon us during the last few months. Kendall joined me in the world of 30 somethings in August. We celebrated both Asher (3) and Adalie’s (1) birthdays in June. Even now, we are preparing for Chloe’s 6th birthday this Saturday. 

Asher began preschool this Fall. He’s going to public pre-K and enjoys it very much. Chloe started Kindergarten and loves it. Asher and Chloe have made many friends at our apartment complex and go on regular play dates at the park right by our home. In turn, Kendall and I have fostered new friendships with parents of our childrens’ friends. 

Adalie is walking, babbling, and being altogether funny every day as she learns how to play with her big brother and sister. Our home is filled with lots of pretend play, reading, crafts, and storytelling every day. 

MINISTRY UPDATE

Pray that the Lord would continue to train and equip our family for gospel ministry and give us plentiful gospel conversations to build his Church here in the Fox Valley area. Likewise, please pray for a clarified vision of our church planting site.

I am about three-fourths through my internship at Redeemer Fellowship. This has been an incredible learning time for me as I serve on a team of outstanding shepherds, who encourage me in my gifting each week.

Lord willing, I am preparing for the residency stage of planting. Please pray that I am accepted as a resident for 2015 with the North American Mission Board.

During the last quarter of this year and into the residency stage we will solidify our church planting plans. Here’s where we stand right now. For some time, I have shared about desiring to plant in Aurora. After a number of meetings with our elder leadership about starting a campus in Aurora, our leadership concluded that, at this time, we do not wish to commit to being the kind of church that has campuses. Redeemer Fellowship is neither ready for this step, nor convinced that it is the appropriate ministry philosophy for our church. Likewise, I have wondered if our family is the best family to minister to the Aurora demographic. Finally, strategically this location is both too close to our Naperville Church Plant and Redeemer Fellowship. 

Thus, the elders invited me to continue forward with church planting an autonomous church in the Chicago Suburbs. I’ve started prayerfully looking further North because the SBC has very few churches North of I-90. We started praying about two areas: Crystal Lake and its surroundings and Libertyville and its surroundings. Ironically, Libertyville had been a location that we had been praying about since we arrived to Chicago. On the other hand, Crystal Lake had newly drawn our attention because we recently started having new members commuting from this area to Redeemer, a 30-45 minute commute.

During July and August I started making trips to both areas scouting them out and praying about whether the Lord was giving me a burden for these areas. Right now, I am still in the process of prayerfully seeking the Lord about these potential church planting sites.

At this time, Libertyville draws more of my attention. I am visiting this location weekly, meeting with people, and interviewing them about the area. I am also connecting with Pastors of churches in that area to learn more about the context and community.

Meanwhile, I have enjoyed my responsibilities of coordinating Welcome, Offering, and Announcements, Leadership Lab, and Theology Pub for Redeemer Fellowship. The discussion guides I create weekly from the sermon have been well received by our Community Groups. Most leaders are taking advantage of these resources and have given me positive feedback on them.

This year Redeemer successfully multiplied community groups. A Batavia, West Chicago, and Naperville community group all started this year. I continue to facilitate discussions for our Community Group in Aurora on Thursdays.

I had the pleasure of preaching twice during August. Once at Doxa Fellowship, which was my third time with the people there, and once at Embassy Church, my second time with them. 

WORK UPDATE

Pray that the Lord would provide part-time employment and freelance employment in editing and writing that would help me to provide for my family.

After I sent my last newsletter, in July, something surprising happened. I had reached out to the area publishing companies about freelance, contractual, editing work. One of them, Moody Publishers, contacted me about a full-time position. They asked me to interview for an Acquisition Editor role. During late July and August I went through two in-person interviews.

Moody was looking for someone who would make a career out of publishing and one of their concerns was whether I was called to or would be content with making a shift away from pastoral ministry. The whole experience caused me to step back and reconsider my calling for church planting. I admit, the primary driver for this was my desire to provide for my family, combined with the opportunity to play a crucial role in producing 8-12 books a year for Moody Publishers.

On Oct 3, the one year anniversary of our move to Chicago, Moody Publishers let me know that they were going to go in a different direction. As the editorial director at Crossway told me, it is a really high honor to have been considered for this position. Yet, I believe that this is still another confirmation that what the Lord brought me to Chicago to do is what I should do: plant a church.

Right now, I am pursuing a part-time position at the Starbucks by our apartment. This will provide health benefits for our family and some pay. Kendall is applying to work at Aldi. 

PARTNERING UPDATE

Pray that the Lord will provide partners with both churches and individuals, so we may continue forward with Church Planting.

The Lord continues to graciously provide abundantly for us, and he has provided only exactly what we need. We’re thankful for this because it demonstrates his faithfulness. We have been fully funded since we’ve moved to Chicago. This is partly because of our savings and the generosity of friends. We are very thankful for you all. 

Right now we have funding through November. Kendall and I are looking at part-time work because we believe that this is the responsible thing to do, while we make plans for church planting in either Crystal Lake or Libertyville. 

If you would like to make a one-time gift or join in partnering us, please let us know. We need ministry partners now more than ever. 

Here’s a brief outline of our need:

1. We will need to raise $4,000 for the month of December. 

2. If accepted as a Resident with NAMB for 2015, then we will receive $3000/month from NAMB. For 2015 we only need to enlist $2000/month in partnerships. Right now if all our current partners give through 2015, then we are already at 25%. 
 

If the Lord is stirring you to partner with us, you may do so through the North American Mission Board.

All funding may be securely given through the North American Mission Board. Gifts may be given through Electronic Funds Transfer, or AutoPay with your Debit or Credit Card. To set up automatic giving on-line go to our NAMB Webpage, http://msc.kintera.org/cochranfamily2005.

If you wish to mail in an Electronic Funds Transfer request, you may do so. Fill out the form below and mail it to the address for NAMB below. When you fill out the form indicate my name JOEY COCHRAN and Account 10138 on the form.
EFT Request Form.

Here is a helpful document about giving online with the North American Mission Board.
Q&A Sheet for Partnering with NAMB Missionaries.

If you wish to send a monthly check, you may still do so. Please be sure to memo JOEY COCHRAN ACCT 10138 on your check.

Mail your check to:

NAMB
Attention: Accounting – MSC                       
PO Box 116543
Atlanta, Georgia 30368-6543

Sincerely,

The Cochran Family
cochranfamily2005@gmail.com

Joey Cochran
e: jc@redeemerfellowship.org
t: @joeycochran
w: www.jtcochran.com

View-Worthy: 10.15.14

Preview

Houston Subpoenas Sermons, Can Preachers Get Better?, Leading Your Wife, Back to the Ancient Church.

Headliner

Joe Carter. City of Houston to Pastors: Show Us Your Sermons. (ACTON)

This summer Houston Mayor Annise Parker championed a so-called Equal Rights Ordinance which, among other changes, would force businesses to allow transgender residents’ to use whatever restroom they want, regardless of their biological sex.

In response, a citizen initiative was launched to have the council either repeal the bill or place it on the ballot for voters to decide. The mayor and city attorney defied the law and rejected the certification, so the initiative filed a lawsuit. In return, the city’s attorneys subpoenaed a number of area pastors.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the city demanded to see what these pastors were preaching from the pulpit and wanted to examine their communications with their church members and others concerning the city council’s actions.

Deal of the Day

Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God by Paul Copan

Book Review

Barry Cooper. Can I Really Trust The Bible? Reviewed by Mike Bowling. (SoG)

Links

Hershael York. Four Reasons Why Some Preachers Get Better and Others Don’t. (TGC)

No one denies that a preaching class and some coaching can help anyone become better. What we question is the possibility that someone with no natural giftedness and ability can be taught well enough that he can become really good.

David Murray. Five Ways to Lead Your Wife.

Husbands tend to fall into one of two errors. Some are too passive, others are too domineering or controlling. In Ephesians 5, Paul addresses both extremes. To the passive abdicator of responsibility, he says, “Lead your wife.” To the aggressive tyrant, he says, “Love your wife.”

Let’s focus on Mr Passive today and see if we can help him step up to the plate and start leading. Before we do so, though, let’s just deal with some objections that may already be rising about this idea of the husband being the leader.

Nathan Busenitz. Getting Back to the Ancient Church.

How much is your church like the ancient church?

That’s a popular question these days—especially if you read guys like Robert WebberBrian McLarenWolfgang Simson, or Frank Viola and George Barna.

Edify

Luke 12:29 “And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.”

“Half our miseries are caused by things that we think are coming upon us.” J C Ryle

Reading the Classics for New Testament Studies

Every serious student of the New Testament will pursue studies in the classics. This will sharpen that New Testament student’s understanding of Greek or Latin, both very helpful for New Testament studies. Reading these texts will be invaluable for learning the cultural context of the Grecco-Roman world in which the New Testament was written.

The best way to access these classics is by building a library of those little red and green back pocket books from the Loeb Classic Library. These pocket books are diglots. A diglot has the text of the classic in its original language on one page and the english translation of the text on the opposite page. In addition, these pocket books include textual critical data about the original manuscripts from which the original text is drawn.

As of right now, there are over 500 volumes in the Loeb Classic Library. This is some of the richest reading for any person to read. But, what volumes are the best to read for New Testament Students? How does one choose? One does not want to randomly select volumes hither and thither for studies.

This next year I plan on reading one volume each month from the greenback series. The greenbacks are Greek classics.

I scoured the Internet to find guidance on which volumes to read to no avail. I couldn’t find any help. So, I decided to reach out to my favorite New Testament scholars for guidance.

Here’s who I heard from:

N T Wright, Scot McKnight, David deSilva, Darrell Bock, Ben Witherington III, Ray Van Neste, and Craig Evans.

I asked each one to suggest a few sources that they found seminal for New Testament studies. There was always a consensus on a handful of the sources. Yet, it was also remarkable to see how each scholar picked distinctive volumes, which differentiated them self from the others. I’ll also add that I asked for suggestions that might be particularly helpful for studying the Pastoral Epistles, as I have special interest in those New Testament letters.

Below are the most critical volumes for which these scholars shared a consensus. Following this, I’ve listed each scholar with his personal recommendations. I list the author first followed by all the volumes of suggested reading for that author. Here’s what I learned about what Loeb classics to read for New Testament studies.

Consensus on the Most Important Volumes: 

The below is the list of authors that have primary importance. Each of these authors have multi-volumes in the Loeb Library. Reading them in their entirety is of first importance.

Apostolic Fathers

Josephus

Philo

Clement of Alexandria

Eusebius

N T Wright’s Suggestions:

Plato, The Timaeus; Plutarch, Moralia.

Scot McKnight’s Suggestions:

Plato, Apology; Aristotle, Ethics; Suetonius, Augustus; Tacitus, Annals; Aeschylus, Volume I, II, III; Homer, Illiad; Homer, Odyssey; Virgil, Aeneid.

David deSilva’s Suggestions:

Aristotle, Virtues & Vices; Xenophon, Oeconomicus; Isocrates, Volume I; Epictetus, Discourses: Book 1-2; Epictetus, Discourses: Books 3-4. The Enceiridion.

Darrell Bock’s Suggestions:

Plato, Republic; Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.

Ben Witherington III’s Suggestions:

Plutarch, Lives.

Ray Van Neste’s Suggestions:

Theophrastus, Characters; Lucian, Volume IV: How To Write History; Select Papyri: Volume I; Select Papyri: Volume II.

Craig Evans’ Suggestions:

Suetonius, Lives of the Caesars; Pliny, Letters, Books 1-7; Pliny, Letters, Books 8-10. Panegyricus; Seneca, Moral Essays; Tacitus, History; Tacitus, Annals; Polybius, History.